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Business of Media

This guide is designed for NYU students researching general topics in media business.

Ticker Symbols

  • If you search for a company in NexisUni or Factiva, make a note of the ticker symbol. This can help you in the future, when you want to be precise. 
  • For example, searching for BGP will help you get to documents related to Borders the book store, rather than other companies with the word "Borders" in their names.


Simply put, these are two industry classification systems and as you begin to navigate the business databases, you will see them everywhere.

SIC is an older, more international system, still in use by the U.S. Government.

NAICS is a little newer and generally applies to North America. Either way, don't fret too much about these. Just understand that they are used to code specific industries, largely for the purposes of research and statistics.

For a more complete explanation, see the section on classifications in this article from the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences.

SEC Filings

When companies file their financial disclosure statements with the SEC, the reports end up in a database called EDGAR, which stands for Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System. You have the option to search EDGAR via the SEC's website or via subscription library databases.

Hoover's will link out to SEC filings, where available. Searching within LSEG Workspace will also link you to independent analyst reports. 

Bobst Library Business FAQs

The Business FAQ page is truly comprehensive. Do a keyword search or browse by category.

Researching a Private Company

For general information on private companies, try these databases: 


Articles can be a great source of information and insight about private companies. Search these databases for articles on private companies:

Researching a Public Company

For general information on public companies, try these databases: 


EDGAR : Search the Securities and Exchange Commission's publicly available database of publicly traded companies SEC filings directly from their website, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system or EDGAR


Articles can be a great source of information and insight about any company. Search these databases for articles on public companies:

Determining Company Status: Public vs. Private

Determining Company Status: Public v. Private

Determining the status of a company is the most important part of conducting company research. Public and private companies differ considerably in the availability of information about their operations, therefore you should have a basic understanding of their differences.

a. Publicly Traded Companies

Publicly traded companies sell stock to the general public on a stock exchange. Anyone who purchases stock in a company owns part of that company. As a result, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) requires public companies to disclose financial and other information to their owners, so that investors can determine for themselves if their company's securities are a good investment (see Required Disclosure Filings on this page

b. Private/Closely Held Companies

Privately or closely held businesses, are those for which there is no public ownership of its shares or assets. Although closely held businesses tend to be small, family owned or jointly owned by a small group of people, they can also be large or wholly owned subsidiaries of major publicly traded companies. It should be kept in mind that the majority of businesses in the United States are private. Because privately held companies do not sell shares to the public, they are not required by law to report financial information to the SEC. As a result, it is more difficult to locate detailed information about a private company's operations.

c. Subsidiaries

A subsidiary is a distinctly separate firm controlled by a parent company. A subsidiary is referred to as "wholly owned" when 100% of its stock is owned by its parent company. Large publicly held multi-national companies often own dozens of smaller privately owned subsidiaries for which financial information is filed under the name of the parent company. As a result, having knowledge of whether a private firm is a subsidiary of a public corporation is extremely important when looking for company information.

For example:
Travelscape, Inc., a travel agent and reservation services company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Expedia Group, Inc., which is a public company traded on the NASDAQ.

Credit: used with gratitude and permission from Georgetown University Law Library's Company Research guide